PR guru Michael Sitrick has spoken out about dropping Harvey Weinstein as a client, but "doesn't know" if the movie producer was "unable" to pay his bills.
The 71-year-old spin doctor has refused to reveal why he walked away from the 66-year-old film mogul - who has been accused of sexually harassing dozens of women - after his company Sitrick and Company were hired to manage Weinstein's PR in October, following the initial wave of claims against him.
When asked if Weinstein was unable to pay his bills, Michael replied: "Well, I don't know if he was unable."
Weinstein's lawyers called Michael on the day his mother died in early October, and the public relations boss recalled: "I said, 'I can't deal with this now. I'm making my mother's funeral arrangements.' "
Weinstein later called Michael personally, and the PR man admitted his former client sounded composed on the phone, but he was too busy to deal with him so he put his colleague Sallie Hofmeister on the case, and admits he didn't deliberately choose a woman.
He explained: "I said, 'I'm going to put Sallie on it.' He knows who Sallie is. There wasn't any choice. It was either that or we weren't going to take it.
"It wasn't a matter of, 'Gee, I wanted a woman.' I don't think in terms of male/female."
Michael - who has been employed by several celebrities, including Kelsey Grammer, Halle Berry, Chris Brown and Naomi Campbell - had met Weinstein several years earlier in passing and says the director was "personable" at the time.
Following the initial sexual misconduct allegations against Weinstein in October, the MeToo movement - a campaign against sexual harassment and assault, especially in the workplace - went viral, and PR boss Michael believes it is a "good thing".
He added to The Times newspaper: "If it gets people to think before they act, it will be a good thing."
Last month, Weinstein was indicted on charges of rape in the first and third degrees, and criminal sexual act in the first degree.